China's Embedded Activism : Opportunities and constraints of a social movement book cover
1st Edition

China's Embedded Activism
Opportunities and constraints of a social movement

ISBN 9780415666503
Published March 15, 2011 by Routledge
288 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In recent years China has been remarkable in achieving extraordinary economic transformation, yet without fundamental political change. To many observers this would seem to imply a weakness in Chinese civil society. However, though the idea of democracy as multitudes of citizens taking to the streets may be attractive, it is simultaneously misleading as it disregards the nature of political change taking place in China today: a gradual shift towards a polity adapted to a pluralist society. At the same time, one may wonder what the limited political space implies for the development of a social movement in China. This book explores this question by focusing on one of the most active areas of Chinese civil society: the environment.

China’s Embedded Activism argues that China’s semi-authoritarian limitations on the freedom of association and speech, coupled with increased social spaces for civic action has created a milieu in which activism occurs in an embedded fashion. The semi-authoritarian atmosphere is restrictive of, but paradoxically, also conducive to nationwide, collective action with less risk of social instability and repression at the hand of the governing elite.

Rich in case studies about environmental civic organizations in China, and written by a team of international experts on social movements, NGOs, democratization, and civil society, this book addresses a wide readership of students, scholars and professionals interested in development, geography and environment, political change, and contemporary Chinese society.

Table of Contents

1: Introduction: Embedded Activism and Political Change in a Semi-Authoritarian Context

Peter Ho

2. Self-imposed Censorship and De-politicized Politics in China: Green Activism or a Color Revolution?

Peter Ho

3: Corporatist Control of Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations: A State Perspective

Jiang Ru and Leonard Ortolano

4: "Of Seven Mouths and Eight Tongues": Media, Civil Society, and the Rise of a Green Public Sphere

Craig Calhoun and Guobin Yang

5: Grassland Campaigns during the Collective Era: Socialist Politics and Local Strategies in Uxin Ju

Hong Jiang

6: Channeling Dissent: The Institutionalization of Environmental Complaint Resolution

Anna Brettell

7: Not Against the State, Just Protecting Residents’ Interests: An Urban Movement in a Shanghai Neighborhood

Jiangang Zhu and Peter Ho

8: Caged by Boundaries? NGO Cooperation at the Sino-Russian Border

Yanfei Sun and Maria Tysiachniouk

9: Transnational Advocacy at the Grassroots: Benefits and Risks of International Cooperation

Katherine Morton

10. Perspectives of Time and Change: Rethinking Embedded Green Activism in China

Peter Ho and Richard Louis Edmonds

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Richard Louis Edmonds is Visiting Professor in the Geographical Studies Program and Member, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago.


Peter Ho is Professor in International Development Studies and Director of the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), University of Groningen


'China's Embedded Activism is another important effort in making sense of the changes that are taking place in China' -  Zhengxu Wang. The China Quarterly, 196, December 2008